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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Trains > Great Trains Of America (Goldhil DVD set)

Great Trains Of America set (Goldhil)


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: B-     Programs: B-



Goldhil has taken some interesting programs from 1992 on trains and packaged them as a set.  Great Trains Of America is divided into two DVDs; one on Eastern U.S. trains, the other on Western trains.  The primary programs run only under 30 minutes, but additional clips in supplement sections and fun sound-only segments that add up to about five hours between the two DVDs.


Though it would seem all of this could have fit on one DVD, it needed two.  The Eastern DVD covers New Hampshire, the Amish area in Strasburg, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Illinois, and the origins of the railroads in the U.S. as the country expanded.  It offers a rare look at some great trains that are very unique, well-crafted, and often one-of-a-kind.  A dozen years later, it is valid to speculate what has happened to these trains.  The Western DVD is more of the same, which is good.


We get the Colorado Rockies Georgetown Loop, Grand Canyon Railway, and many places in California where all the lines finally ended after the Great Expansion that made railroads in this country legend and one of the early marvels of the Industrial Age.  Though I wanted much more, this is not a bad set.  There is certainly much more to be said, but this is not just done on a family fluff level, and fans will appreciate the footage.


The full frame videotaped images show their age from the NTSC analog videotape sources, but the color is often nice just the same.  The sound has been remixed for Dolby Digital 5.1 AC-3 sound, which benefits the trains’ footage the most, but it cannot hide or improve the old sound otherwise.  This is still far better than monophonic or simple stereo sound, so Goldhil made the right call here.  A bonus debuting on both DVDs involves an audio-only section that allows you to enjoy the audio of trains running.  This is a fun novelty that has surprisingly NOT surfaced on other DVDs, proving one again not enough fun things are being done with the format to begin with.


Train titles on video, even ones on toy trains like A History Of Lionel Trains, have a big, loyal following and this is an interesting addition to that special interest category.  This and many other interesting special interest titles are available from the Goldhil Company at their website: www.goldhil.com, where you can get more information on their growing catalog.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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